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In IPO filing, Rivian reveals it has 48,390 pre-orders – and is spending lots of money

Rivian yellow truck
Emily Bollinger
Rivian has over 2,800 employees in Normal, becoming McLean County’s third-largest employer almost overnight. The plant began production of the R1T pickup in mid-September.
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Rivian has about 48,390 pre-orders for its first electric pickup and SUV, the electric automaker said Friday in its filings to become a publicly traded company. It would trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “RIVN.”

The 206-page prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is chock full of previously unknown information about Rivian and its plans.

Most notably, Rivian revealed for the first time how many customers have pre-ordered the R1T pickup and R1S sport utility vehicle: 48,390. They each paid fully refundable deposit of $1,000.

Rivian also specified how busy its Normal manufacturing plant may get in the coming years. The plant currently has an estimated production capacity of 150,000 vehicles annually, according to the filing. Rivian also alluded to the possibility of a second U.S. manufacturing plant, other than Normal.

“We believe that we will be able to increase the annual production capacity of the Normal Factory up to 200,000 vehicles by 2023 as we introduce additional R1 platform variants and expand the facility,” Rivian said. “Over the next couple of years, we expect to establish additional domestic production capacity in order to support our product development roadmap and fulfill future anticipated demand.”

Rivian has over 2,800 employees in Normal, becoming McLean County’s third-largest employer almost overnight. The plant began production of the R1T pickup in mid-September. The R1S is expected to go into production by December.

Rivian is also apparently planning to fulfill its big order from Amazon quicker than initially expected. Amazon, one of Rivian’s largest investors, has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian.

When the order was first announced in 2019, the companies said all 100,000 vehicles would be on the road by 2030. Friday’s SEC filing says Rivian plans to deliver 100,000 vehicles to Amazon by 2025.

Finances and risk factors

The SEC filing also offers one of the first public looks at Rivian’s finances. The company lost $994 million in the first six months of 2021, and $1 billion in 2020. That’s not entirely a surprise; the company is investing $1.5 billion into its Normal plant, and its R1 vehicles have only generated minimal revenue. Rivian says it’s raised roughly $10.5 billion to date. Amazon, Ford, and T. Rowe-managed funds and accounts have been part of multiple financing rounds.

“We do not expect to be profitable for the foreseeable future as we invest in our business, build capacity and ramp up operations, and we cannot assure you (potential stockholders) that we will ever achieve or be able to maintain profitability in the future,” Rivian said. “Even if we are able to successfully develop our vehicles and attract customers, there can be no assurance that we will be financially successful.”

Those comments came in a lengthy section of the filing called “Risk Factors,” laying out candidly the challenges Rivian will face in launching its vehicles and becoming profitable.

Among those risk factors:

-- Rivian is getting a “significant portion” of its initial revenue from one customer: Amazon. “If we are unable to maintain this relationship, or if this customer purchases significantly fewer vehicles than we currently anticipate or none at all, our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected,” Rivian said.

-- Rivian is “highly dependent on the services and reputation” of founder and CEO RJ Scaringe. “Dr. Scaringe is a significant influence on and driver of our business plan. If Dr. Scaringe were to discontinue his service due to death, disability or any other reason, or if his reputation is adversely impacted by personal actions or omissions or other events within or outside his control, we would be significantly disadvantaged.”

-- Rivian’s business “may be adversely affected by labor and union activities.” “Although none of our employees are currently represented by a labor union, it is common throughout the automobile industry generally for employees to belong to a union, which can result in higher employee costs, operational restrictions and increased risk of disruption to operations,” the company wrote.

Rivian’s IPO is expected to happen later this year. It’s reportedly seeking a valuation of $70-80 billion.

You can read the full filing on the SEC’s website.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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